José Mourinho will be unveiled as coach of Real Madrid CF on Monday after compensation was agreed with FC Internazionale Milano, who he led to UEFA Champions League glory at the Santiago Bernabéu last weekend.
The former FC Porto and Chelsea FC manager will be presented with a brief to restore Madrid to the pinnacle of the domestic and European game. He replaces Manuel Pellegrini, the former Villarreal CF trainer who was dismissed on Wednesday after a season in charge.
The move, which has been widely touted, comes with Mourinho's stock higher than ever – the 47-year-old Portuguese coach led Inter to a 2-0 UEFA Champions League final triumph over FC Bayern München last Saturday, completing a historic treble for the Italian side.
Mourinho had moved to San Siro in June 2008, landing the Scudetto in his first term, before going on to end the Nerazzurri's 45-year wait to lift the European Champion Clubs' Cup. In the process, Mourinho – first acquainted with continental football's ultimate prize in 2004 while at the helm of Porto – became the third coach after Ottmar Hitzfeld and Ernst Happel to win the trophy with different clubs.
Earlier this month his team had also secured the Italian double, pipping AS Roma to glory in both Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
Madrid will be hoping he can work in central Spain the kind of magic witnessed at Inter, Chelsea, Porto and, before all that, UD Leiria, the Portuguese outfit he steered to a best-ever league finish of fifth in 2001. Los Merengues, who collected the last of their nine European crowns in 2002, have not advanced beyond the UEFA Champions League first knockout round for six seasons. On the domestic front they are without a trophy since winning the Liga in 2008.
Under his predecessor in the Bernabéu hot seat, Pellegrini, Madrid amassed 96 top-flight points this term yet still finished three behind FC Barcelona. They ended the campaign with a run of 18 wins, one draw and one defeat, crucially against Barcelona – not enough to clinch the title.
Curiously, Mourinho's first steps in top-class football were as an assistant to first Sir Bobby Robson and then Louis van Gaal at Camp Nou. He came to much wider prominence at Porto, capturing the UEFA Cup in 2003 followed by the UEFA Champions League 12 months later.
That success prompted a switch to Chelsea who took the English title for the first time in 50 years in his first season in office. The self-proclaimed Special One repeated the feat the next year, although his Chelsea side lost twice to Liverpool FC in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Mourinho was eventually sacked by Chelsea early in the 2007/08 campaign. He was victorious on his return to Stamford Bridge in March when he oversaw Inter's 1-0 second-leg victory and 3-1 aggregate triumph in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League en route to Madrid.
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